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final_sunrise_review_recommendations_on_optometric_midwifery_scopeFinal Sunrise Review Recommendations on Optometric, Midwifery ScopeLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/January_28/final_sunrise_review_recommendations_on_optometric_midwifery_scope<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/january/eye-exam-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="patient receiving eye exam" /></div> <h5>January 28, 2022</h5> <h2>Final Sunrise Review Recommendations on Optometric, Midwifery Scope </h2> <p>Earlier this week, the Washington State Department of Health released three highly anticipated sets of recommendations on sunrise reviews requested by optometrists, midwives, and anesthesiologists.</p> <p>Sunrise reviews are the process by which the DOH considers proposals that would create new health professions or amend the practices of regulated health professions. These reviews offer opportunities for feedback from physicians and the wider public and bear watching as they can prompt future legislation impacting the practice of medicine.</p> <h3>Optometry scope of practice</h3> <p>The Optometric Physicians of Washington is seeking to increase the optometrist scope of practice. Proposed changes include expanding scope of practice to allow optometrists to diagnose and treat some surgical conditions without comprehensive medical training, as well as the use of injections, scalpels, and lasers on the eyes and tissues surrounding the eyes without specifying any additional education or training requirements. The proposal also would grant sole authority to determine what constitutes the practice of optometry to the Board of Optometry.</p> <p>In its <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/Newsletters/2022/2021-optometry-sunrise-final.pdf]">final recommendation</a>, the DOH determines that certain aspects of the proposal meet the sunrise criteria, but the bill as written is too broad and does not adequately describe what procedures would be allowed. The DOH recommends specific changes to ensure patient safety.</p> <p>The WSMA is concerned with this recommendation and opposed the corresponding legislation, <a href="">Senate Bill 5542</a>, when it was heard in the Senate Health and Long Term Care committee earlier this week.</p> <h3>Midwifery scope of practice</h3> <p>The Midwives Association of Washington is seeking to increase the midwifery scope of practice. The proposal would grant licensed midwives limited prescriptive authority for "medications and therapies for the prevention and treatment of common prenatal and postpartum conditions and hormonal and nonhormonal family planning methods."</p> <p>In its <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/Newsletters/2022/2021-midwifery-sunrise-final.pdf]">final recommendation</a>, the DOH supports the concept of the proposal because it would increase access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services. However, the DOH does not support the proposal under review and recommends additional parameters to clarify the application of the proposed prescriptive authority and the required additional education and training.</p> <p>Corresponding legislation, <a href="">Senate Bill 5765</a>, was also heard in the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee earlier this week. The WSMA was on hand to share our support of DOH's recommendations.</p> <h3>Anesthesia assistants</h3> <p>The DOH <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/Newsletters/2022/2021-anesthesiologist-assistant-sunrise-review-final.pdf]">recommended in favor</a> of a proposal from the Washington State Society of Anesthesiologists to create a license for anesthesia assistants if certain changes are made to address safety. The WSMA is pleased with this recommendation and will support corresponding legislation during the 2022 legislative session.</p> </div>1/27/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
hhs_releases_$2_billion_in_new_provider_relief_fund_paymentsHHS Releases $2 Billion in New Provider Relief Fund PaymentsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/January_28/hhs_releases_$2_billion_in_new_provider_relief_fund_payments<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/january/physician-money-illustration-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="illustration of physician with a dollar sign arrow" /></div> <h5>January 28, 2022</h5> <h2>HHS Releases $2 Billion in New Provider Relief Fund Payments</h2> <p>The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration, is making more than $2 billion in Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 payments to more than 7,600 physicians and providers across the country this week.</p> <p>These payments come on the heels of the nearly $9 billion in funding that was already released by HHS in December. Like the payments allocated in December, the newly announced payments will be based on lost revenues and increased expenses due to COVID-19 and will be made to physicians who previously applied for relief funds. HHS will reimburse a larger share of losses and increased expenses for smaller providers and a portion of the payments will be based on the amount and type of services provided to Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP patients. To mitigate disparities due to varying Medicaid reimbursement rates, HHS is using Medicare reimbursement rates in calculating these payments. Physician practices that receive more than $10,000 in payments will be required to report on their use of the funds. Visit the <a href="">HRSA Provider Relief Fund dedicated webpages</a> for more information.</p> </div>1/27/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
session_update_wsma_members_testify_on_priority_billsSession Update: WSMA Members Testify on Priority BillsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/January_28/session_update_wsma_members_testify_on_priority_bills<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/january/testimony-4-photos-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="four images of physicians testifying virtually" /></div> <h5>January 28, 2022</h5> <h2>Session Update: WSMA Members Testify on Priority Bills</h2> <p>Nearly three weeks into the 60-day "short" state legislative session, WSMA's legislative advocacy-powered by your membership, as well as the hard work of our lobbying team and volunteer WSMA members providing direct testimony-is at full-strength. Here's a brief look at several bills of note to the physician community.</p> <p><a href="">Senate Bill 5704</a>, which would require health insurance carriers to reimburse advanced registered nurse practitioners at the same rate as physicians for the "same services," had a public hearing in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee on Jan. 17. WSMA President-Elect Katina Rue, DO, was joined by WSMA member and medical student Reilly Bealer and Ashlin Mountjoy, MD, as well as WSMA contract lobbyist Katie Kolan to testify in opposition to this legislation, noting the fundamental differences in education and training between physicians and ARNPs. The WSMA also sent out an action alert to physicians statewide urging them to contact their state senator and share their perspective on the issue.</p> <p>WSMA priority legislation <a href="">House Bill 1889</a>, concerning network adequacy, was heard on Monday, Jan. 24 in the House Health Care & Wellness Committee. WSMA members Erik Penner, MD, and Dominique Coco, MD, joined WSMA Director of Government Affairs Sean Graham to testify in support.</p> <p>Two scope of practice bills were heard in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 26. WSMA joined the Washington Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons to testify in opposition to <a href="">Senate Bill 5542</a>, which would expand the scope practice of optometrists to include surgical procedures that utilize scalpels, lasers, and injections, among other provisions. Among the physicians testifying against SB 5542 were WSMA Past President Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, and WSMA members Aaron Weingeist, MD, and Rachel Reinhardt, MD. WSMA Associate Director of Legislative Affairs Alex Wehinger was on hand to testify as "other" for <a href="">Senate Bill 5765</a>, which would grant licensed midwives limited prescriptive authority.</p> <p>These are just a few examples of our advocacy at work in Olympia. Thank you to all of the physicians who testified on the above issues and the many more who have testified recently on other health-care-related legislation. And thank you to all who responded to our call to action.</p> <p>Important dates ahead:</p> <ul> <li>Feb. 3: Policy committee cutoff</li> <li>Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m.: WSMA Legislative Summit - register <a href="">here</a></li> </ul> <p>Visit the WSMA website for more details on our session advocacy. For weekly updates, WSMA members may subscribe to receive the WSMA Outreach & Advocacy Report by emailing <a href=""></a>.</p> </div>1/27/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
state_legislature_passes_delay_of_long_term_care_actState Legislature Passes Delay of Long-Term Care ActLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/January_28/state_legislature_passes_delay_of_long_term_care_act<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/january/spring-wa-capitol-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Washington state capitol building in spring time" /></div> <h5>January 28, 2022</h5> <h2>State Legislature Passes Delay of Long-Term Care Act</h2> <p>Legislation to delay implementation of the state's long-term care act and associated payroll tax increase to July 1, 2023 has passed both the state Senate and House of Representatives, and now awaits Gov. Jay Inslee's signature.</p> <p><a href="">House Bill 1732</a>, passed on Wednesday, delays to July 1, 2023 implementation of the state's long-term care services and supports trust program; directs that any premiums collected from employees prior to July 1, 2023 must be refunded to employees within 120 days of collection; makes minor changes to program eligibility requirements; and contains an emergency clause, so it takes effect immediately upon being signed by the governor.</p> <p>Also passed by lawmakers was <a href="">House Bill 1733</a>, which allows certain groups who may have pre-existing coverage and who don't stand to benefit from the program to opt out.</p> <p>At the time of this writing, the WSMA expects the governor to sign the bills into law.</p> </div>1/27/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
2022_legislative_session_update_week_32022 Legislative Session Update: Week 3Latest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/2022_legislative_session_update_week_3<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><a href=""><img src="/images/Newsletters/latest-news/2022/january/2022-legislative-update-wk-3-645x425px.png" alt="Legislative Update logo for the week of January 24, 2022" /></a> </div> <h5>January 24, 2022</h5> <h2>2022 Legislative Session Update: Week 3</h2> <p>Alex Wehinger, WSMA's associate director of legislative and political affairs, shares what to expect at this year's virtual WSMA Legislative Summit, taking place Monday, Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m. <a href="">Watch the video</a>.</p> </div>1/24/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_january_21_2022_through_the_ups_and_downs_the_wsma_is_with_youWeekly Rounds: January 21, 2022 - Through the Ups and Downs, the WSMA is With YouLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_january_21_2022_through_the_ups_and_downs_the_wsma_is_with_you<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>January 21, 2022</h5> <h2>Through the Ups and Downs, the WSMA is With You</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Last week, <a href="">this article by Becker's Hospital Review Editor-in-Chief Molly Gamble</a> nailed the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on health care professionals. The article's headline, "Healthcare workers can't get off the COVID-19 rollercoaster," certainly reflects the experience of our members over these past two years. Here at the WSMA, we've been strapped in right alongside you on that rollercoaster. </p> <p> The most recent stomach-churning episode has been over these last several weeks with the omicron surge. We've been loudly speaking up (or should I say shouting?) on behalf of our overworked and overwrought physician and physician assistant members since December, when we even pushed <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Patient_Education/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Patient_Education/covid_19_patient_education.aspx?hkey=1883b646-8a34-48dc-926d-c9711850a7cd&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=3vj88">our message</a> out through paid advertising across the state's newspapers. </p> <p> As the rollercoaster accelerated into the new year, we implored Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health Umair Shah, MD, to meet with us so they could hear first-hand accounts of what's been happening on the front lines. Physician leaders from the Washington Chapter - American College of Emergency Physicians joined us at the table, and we are gratified that the governor and secretary of health took <a href="[@]doc_library/news/letter-to-inslee-shah-crises-resources.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">our message</a> to heart and <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/January_14/governor_responds_to_crisis_facing_overwhelmed_eds_and_hospitals.aspx?WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=5vj88">took action</a>, providing National Guard to help on site and resources to discharge patients to more appropriate care facilities. He also moved forward-contrary to our opposition-with limiting "non-urgent" surgeries and procedures in all hospitals for the next four weeks; however, he emphasized that <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/January_14/governor_responds_to_crisis_facing_overwhelmed_eds_and_hospitals?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=7vj88">physician discretion is still permitted when weighing harm to patients</a>. </p> <p> After almost two years of fighting this pandemic, we know you are exhausted, both mentally and physically. We know the days ahead will be long and will feel endless. In case you missed it, I hope you'll give yourself a moment of quiet and view WSMA President Dr. Mika Sinanan's <a href="">message of encouragement</a> for each of you. </p> <p> To do our part to lessen the impact on our local emergency departments, we've produced a <a href="">public service announcement</a> featuring two emergency physicians, Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, past president of the WSMA, and C. Ryan Keay, MD, president of the Washington chapter of ACEP. In the 45-second video message, Drs. Keay and Schlicher encourage patients to get vaccinated or boosted if they're not already, and to only come to the ED if they are experiencing very serious or life-threatening conditions. If you are not testing at your practice, please encourage your worried patients to use at-home COVID-19 tests or the state's testing sites and to not present to the ED unless they are experiencing life-threatening symptoms. If patients can't access testing, encourage them to stay home and monitor their symptoms. Use <a href="">Department of Health-produced materials</a> with your patients. </p> <p> At the end of Gamble's article, she quotes Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD, chief quality and clinical transformation officer of University Hospitals in Cleveland, as he addressed how to cope with this rollercoaster ride: "We need authentic leadership, the balance of hopeful and humble. Hopeful that we will get through this. But also the courage to confront our current reality: It sucks. Let's not pretend this isn't really hard. Now how can we make your work better?" </p> <p> That is a question we regularly ask WSMA leadership and our members. Let us know how we can help as we face everything that is really hard right now. Meanwhile, thank you. For everything. </p> </div>1/21/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
2022_legislative_session_update_week_22022 Legislative Session Update: Week 2Latest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/2022_legislative_session_update_week_2<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><a href=""><img alt="Legislative Update logo for the week of January 17, 2022" src="/images/Newsletters/latest-news/2022/january/2022-legislative-update-wk-2-645x425px.png" /></a> </div> <h5>January 17, 2022</h5> <h2>2022 Legislative Session Update: Week 2</h2> <p>Sean Graham, WSMA's director of government affairs, reports out on what to expect this week in session, including a call to action on SB 5704 on ARNP reimbursement "parity." <a href="">Watch the video</a>.</p> </div>1/17/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
governor_responds_to_crisis_facing_overwhelmed_eds_and_hospitalsGovernor Responds to Crisis Facing Overwhelmed EDs and HospitalsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/January_14/governor_responds_to_crisis_facing_overwhelmed_eds_and_hospitals<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/january/inslee-press-conf-1-13-22.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Washington Governor Jay Inslee" /></div> <h5>January 14, 2022</h5> <h2>Governor Responds to Crisis Facing Overwhelmed EDs and Hospitals </h2> <p>Following urging by the WSMA and the Washington Chapter of American College of Emergency Physicians, as well as additional outreach by the Washington State Hospital Association, Gov. Jay Inslee yesterday announced critical efforts to help address a capacity and staffing crisis in our emergency rooms and hospitals.</p> <p>Joined by Secretary of Health Umair Shah, MD, the governor announced the following efforts to be implemented as soon as possible:</p> <p>One hundred National Guard troops will be deployed to eight facilities to assist with non-clinical duties. To help some of our state's emergency departments, troops will be deployed to Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, Confluence Health's Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee, and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. The governor said those personnel would be in place by Jan. 24 for approximately one month. The remaining troops will be deployed to facilities to serve as testing teams at testing centers to be established at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital.</p> <p>Also to assist in testing capacity, two FEMA high throughput mass testing sites will be set up in King and Snohomish counties.</p> <p>As expected, the governor announced a temporary pause of all "non-urgent" surgeries and procedures <strong>in hospitals</strong> for the next four weeks. Restrictions are outlined in a new proclamation, <a href="">Proclamation 20-24.3</a> and again they pertain to the hospital setting specifically. In conversations with the WSMA, the governor emphasized that physician discretion is still permitted to facilitate access to care in situations where delays may result in harm to patients (for specific language detailing criteria to weigh against when considering potential harm to a patient's health and well-being, see <a href="">the bottom of page 2 into page 3 of the proclamation</a>).</p> <p>Reflecting the resolved supply chain issues, under the governor's order all hospitals are required to use personal protective equipment at the conventional level ("conventional PPE status") and PPE should not be rationed. If any facility or medical group has trouble procuring PPE they are encouraged to contact <a href="">the state</a>.</p> <p>The governor urged hospitals and long-term care facilities in Washington to avail themselves of existing third-party contract workers through <a href="">ACI Federal</a>. There has been some confusion about the number of personnel available through ACI. At the press conference, Secretary Shah clarified there are currently more than 100 medical personnel available through this contract. The governor mentioned they may seek an expansion of the ACI contract if the need is there.</p> <p>With regard to difficult to discharge patients in the hospital, the governor is expanding state-contracted staffing in long-term care and skilled nursing facilities, as well as increasing social service staff to conduct assessments in hospitals. They include deploying more staff to work with patients on transition plans and contracting with local Area Agencies on Aging to help handle the transition from hospital to rehab for non-Medicaid patients.</p> <p>He is also putting resources into increasing the number of certified public guardians to address the transfer of individuals out of hospitals into more appropriate care settings.</p> <p>Finally, the governor made an urgent plea for retired health care workers to assist in whatever capacity they can, particularly over the next four weeks. You can do so by registering with the <a href="">Washington State Emergency Registry of Volunteers</a>. </p> <p>Additionally, the Washington State Hospital Association is reporting that many of the state hospitals are operating under crisis staffing models. In a <a href="">KING 5 report</a>, WSHA clarifies that the models are under the guidance of the Washington State Department of Health and the <a href="">Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a> and "pertain to how quickly hospital staff can return to work after testing positive for COVID-19 and which patients they can care for."</p> <p>The WSMA is grateful to the governor for addressing our concerns and remain hopeful the steps he announced today help alleviate our emergency departments and hospitals so they can continue to provide critical care to our patients.</p> <p>We also want to share our thanks and gratitude to the National Guard who we know have been helping our state in so many ways, most recently in response to weather events such as flooding and snowstorms, and throughout the pandemic with testing sites and food deliveries.</p> <p>Please continue to help us spread the word to patients that if they want to be tested for COVID-19, they should <a href="">go to a local testing site</a> or use an at-home test (soon to be available through <a href="">state</a> and <a href="">federal</a> efforts), and urge patients to mask up and to <a href="">get vaccinated and boosted</a>.</p> </div>1/15/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
2022_short_legislative_session_promises_bills_of_interest_to_physicians2022 'Short' Legislative Session Promises Bills of Interest to PhysiciansLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/January_14/2022_short_legislative_session_promises_bills_of_interest_to_physicians<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/january/spring-wa-capitol-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Washington capitol in springtime" /></div> <h5>January 14, 2022</h5> <h2>2022 'Short' Legislative Session Promises Bills of Interest to Physicians</h2> <p>The 2022 Washington state legislative session convened on Monday for what looks to be a mostly virtual 60-day "short" session. Legislators will spend the majority of these first few weeks of their working session in virtual committee hearings, which will be streamed live and archived on <a href="">TVW</a>. The 2022 session will likely be focused on making tweaks to the budget and policy bills that passed last session, as well as COVID-19 response efforts, the environment, and more.</p> <p>The Senate and House both made changes to the format of session in light of the omicron variant and continued rise in COVID-19 cases in Washington state. The House announced it will be transitioning to a fully virtual setting for the first two weeks of session and reassess its operations every two weeks to make adjustments as conditions warrant. Generally speaking, the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Senate</a> has adopted a hybrid model: A limited number of legislators will be allowed to participate in person on the chamber floor and committee hearings will remain fully remote. Both chambers have suspended in-person meetings and members of the public will not be allowed in Capitol campus buildings.</p> <p>As a reminder, the WSMA's Outreach & Advocacy Report, containing updates about WSMA's advocacy efforts and opportunities for engagement, will be disseminated on a weekly basis during session, typically each Friday. WSMA members who would like to opt in to receive the WSMA OA Report may email <a href=""></a>.</p> <h3>Important dates to keep in mind</h3> <ul> <li>Feb. 3: Policy committee cutoff</li> <li>Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m.: WSMA Legislative Summit - register <a href="">here</a>!</li> <li>Feb. 7: Fiscal committee cutoff </li> <li>Feb. 15: House of origin cutoff </li> <li>Feb. 24: Policy committee cutoff - opposite house </li> <li>Feb. 28: Fiscal committee cutoff - opposite house </li> <li>Mar. 4: Opposite house cutoff </li> <li>Mar. 10: Last day of session </li> </ul> <h3>WSMA legislative priorities </h3> <p>While the WSMA will engage on a variety of issues impacting the house of medicine during the 2022 session, here is a small preview of pending priority legislation expected to be considered:</p> <p>Balance billing (<a href="">House Bill 1688</a>) and network adequacy </p> <ul> <li>The WSMA will seek to preserve important protections in the state's balance billing law, and is proposing network adequacy legislation to ensure a level playing field for contracting and to increase transparency and accountability around insurance carrier contracting practices.</li> </ul> <p>Scope of practice</p> <ul> <li><strong>Naturopaths: </strong><a href="">Senate Bill 5088</a> would increase the naturopathic scope of practice to include increased prescriptive authority and allowance to conduct "minor office-based procedures" without specifically stipulating additional education and training.</li> <li><strong>ARNPs: </strong><a href="">Senate Bill 5704</a> would require health carriers to reimburse advanced registered nurse practitioners at the same rate as physicians in the same service area.</li> <li><strong>Optometrists: </strong><a href="">Senate Bill 5542</a> would increase the scope of practice for optometrists to include potentially dangerous surgical procedures, including those that utilize scalpels, lasers, and injections, and would increase their prescriptive authority without specifically stipulated additional education and training.</li> </ul> </div>1/14/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
call_for_volunteers_to_assist_in_covid_19_responseCall for Volunteers to Assist in COVID-19 ResponseLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/January_14/call_for_volunteers_to_assist_in_covid_19_response<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/january/unsplash-teen-covid-vaccine-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Teenage male receiving vaccination" /></div> <h5>January 14, 2022</h5> <h2>Call for Volunteers to Assist in COVID-19 Response</h2> <p>Volunteer health care professionals are needed to assist with emergency departments and hospitals overwhelmed by the surge of COVID-19 cases and to administer COVID-19 boosters as efforts to further protect Washington residents from serious illness are redoubled.</p> <h3>Assisting surge capacity</h3> <p>With the strong support of the WSMA, the Washington State Department of Health is seeking licensed health care practitioners and retired medical professionals to consider volunteering to support hospital surge capacity. Licensed health care practitioners, from either in or out of state, can register in Washington as emergency volunteers. Visit the <a href="">DOH emergency volunteer page</a> to learn more and register as a volunteer with the <a href="">Washington State Emergency Registry of Volunteers</a>.</p> <h3>Urgent call to help as vaccinators</h3> <p>Public Health - Seattle & King County issued an urgent call for staff to help to administer COVID-19 boosters at seven community vaccination centers. Given the omicron variant's arrival and high transmissibility, King County sees an urgent need to administer boosters to all booster-eligible King County residents (over 1.3 million people) over the next 4-6 weeks<strong>. </strong>King County, in collaboration with multiple partners has (re)opened 18 vaccination clinics throughout the county. The vaccination sites are open to the public at no charge, vaccine supplies are adequate, and appointment and IT systems are in place, but the county is short of qualified vaccinators.</p> <p>If you would like to join these efforts and sign up as a volunteer, you may visit DOH's <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">official announcement</a> and reference the second page, which lists locations, times, and contact information.</p> </div>1/14/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
teaching_the_skills_of_leadershipTeaching the Skills of LeadershipLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/teaching_the_skills_of_leadership<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Reports/2022/jan-feb-2022-reports-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="cover illustration for WSMA Reports January/February 2022" /></div> <h5>January 12, 2022</h5> <h2>Teaching the Skills of Leadership</h2> <h5> <em>Members only; sign-in required.</em> </h5> <p> By Rita Colorito </p> <p> A roomful of students sit together composing haiku as an exercise in putting their thoughts into words. Each of the three stanzas reveals a range of emotions, from excitement to apprehension. "I have much to learn," one composition begins. It's a thought widely echoed by others. </p> <p> The class isn't in literature or any of the liberal arts. It's a class in leadership. And the students aren't your normal collection of pupils. Most of them are physicians, and all of them are health care professionals with years of experience. </p> <p> The exercise is part of the WSMA Physician Leadership Course. The course is taught by Ed Walker, MD, MHA, the driving force behind WSMA's Center for Leadership Development, the home of WSMA's expanded leadership education curriculum whose beginnings can be traced to the launch of the course in 2010. </p> <p> For physicians taking on new leadership roles, whether as the head of a physician-led team or in an administrative capacity, the course provides skills that aren't taught in medical school. </p> <p> "Medicine has always looked for people who have the ability to stay disciplined and push themselves to their limits. But while that works in the emergency room, so that people will stay on task, it doesn't bode well for teams. Because in a team-oriented environment, you want to use the strength of the team, not your individual skills," says Dr. Walker. "The idea of this course is to tell people what's important, so that they can learn what they need to learn to lead." </p> <h3>Driving force</h3> <p> Along with Dr. Walker's original physician leadership course, or PLC for short, WSMA's leadership development catalog now includes the Dyad Leadership Course, a by-invitation Leadership Masterclass, Leadership Seminars, and the Effective Board Governance Course. Complementing the Center for Leadership Development's curriculum is WSMA's annual Leadership Development Conference. </p> <p> WSMA's physician training focuses on making physicians feel safe in learning to lead-admitting they don't have all the answers, says Dr. Walker. Team building exercises like haiku writing break down defensive reflexes and foster a sense of camaraderie. "Physicians have to feel comfortable in front of each other, making mistakes and saying, 'Hey, I don't know how to do this'-that's a very important part of the course," he says. </p> <p> Kristi Lineberry, MD, medical director of the department of imaging for St. Michael's Medical Center in Silverdale, is a graduate of the course. Along with technical expertise gained, Dr. Lineberry says the PLC helped her recognize her leadership style and, more importantly, how that style relates to other members of her team. </p> <p> "I was able to apply that immediately," says Dr. Lineberry. "It's realizing that maybe you yourself have some weaknesses, and that you need to surround yourself with people who can complement not only your strengths, but your weaknesses. For instance, I'm not a good numbers person. I'm better at other aspects of leadership, so I need to have on my team people who understand numbers and finances." </p> <p> Part behavior-modification course, part competency-based learning, the PLC- what Dr. Walker calls a 101 course-is an amalgam of everything he brings to the table. Dr. Walker's 40-year background in medical education and executive coaching includes being the founding director of the University of Washington Healthcare Leadership Development Alliance, working as a trained psychiatrist, and serving as medical director at the UW Medical Center. </p> <p> Dr. Walker's reputation is an important factor in why many health care systems choose the WSMA for their leadership training. "His reach is pretty remarkable. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that either the physician has been to an Ed Walker course or has had mentoring or support from somebody who has," says Jamie Park, MD, chief medical officer at UW Medicine Valley Medical Center in Renton. </p> <h3>Partnering opportunities</h3> <p> Along with offering open-enrollment courses, WSMA's Center for Leadership Development actively partners with health care systems to create targeted programs for them. </p> <p> MultiCare has partnered with the WSMA since 2017, bringing both the PLC and dyad course in house. Each year the program trains 25 to 30 physician leaders and advanced practice providers. Some 125 MultiCare providers, and 40 to 50 dyad partnerships have already completed the training. </p> <p> "It truly is a partnership. We'll do a briefing ahead of time with them on what the organization is going through. Ed comes in knowing the dynamics and the big things eating up our time and our emotional energy," says Karen DeLorenzo, director of provider leadership and organizational development and wellness for MultiCare Health System in Tacoma. </p> <p> All of MultiCare's CMOs have been through the partnered program, says DeLorenzo, including some front-line medical directors, part-time medical directors, and even some informal leaders who have been identified by their CMOs as influential. </p> <p> "That's been a huge relationship builder for them and helps them have the same language to look at things and understand each other... and have each other's backs," says DeLorenzo. </p> <p> The pandemic added a new urgency to the need for leadership development. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, which had its own medical leadership development program since 2007, began its partnership with the WSMA during the pandemic. </p> <p> The WSMA modified the dyad course to create a team-based leadership course specific to SCCA. Anyone the physician leader deems critical, such as service line managers, operational managers, intake scheduling leads, nurse leads, or advanced practice providers, can participate. </p> <p> "We did that because very often our [physician] leaders have to work not just with a single operational dyad partner, but also other team members that are critical to success," says Brittany McCreery, MD, director of medical staff practice for SCCA. SCCA launched the WSMA-led program in spring 2021, with six clinical teams going through it. Another six to eight teams will participate in spring 2022. </p> <p> "Our physician leaders appreciated some dedicated time to stop and slow down from all that was happening around them in the pandemic, and actually work on their team building and communication," says Dr. McCreery. "Oftentimes we just assume that by putting a physician in a leadership role with an operational leader that they're just going to get together on their own and make a partnership happen. And, in reality, a lot of things get in the way of that." </p> <h3>Creating a wellness system</h3> <p> The goal of physician training is creating a health care system that's designed for wellness both for patients and physicians, says Dr. Park. "Physicians have to be involved in change. And to be involved in change, you have to be trained in the concepts that allow you to help organizations change." </p> <p> For the last decade, each year Valley Medical Center has sent a group of physician leaders to WSMA's physician leadership course. Last year, Valley Medical Center partnered with the WSMA to do a system-wide training in house. </p> <p> Over the years, the investment in WSMA leadership courses has paid off both for the physicians and for Valley Medical Center. "We were lucky enough to partner with Ed when he was developing the first dyad course. In the first two courses, we had something like 14 dyads... and many of them still work here," says Dr. Park. "The training that WSMA offers, I don't think there's a better one out there. There's no scenario in which this would not be a good usage of a physician leader's time." </p> <p> <em>Rita Colorito is a freelance journalist who specializes in writing about health care.</em> </p> </div>1/12/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
doctors_making_a_difference_tiffany_spanier_mdDoctors Making a Difference: Tiffany Spanier, MDLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/doctors_making_a_difference_tiffany_spanier_md<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Reports/2022/dmd-website-image-dr-spanier-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Doctors Making a Difference logo with Tiffany Spanier MD" /></div> <h5>January 11, 2022</h5> <h2>Doctors Making a Difference: Tiffany Spanier, MD</h2> <p> Burnout is a well-documented problem affecting the physician community-one that has been exacerbated by the stresses and traumas of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the past decade, pediatrician Tiffany Spanier, MD, who practices at Allegro Pediatrics in Bellevue, has been motivated to help other physicians combat burnout through physician coaching. While the roots of and solutions for burnout need to be addressed on a systemic level, coaching can help physicians build a foundation for well-being in their daily lives and practices. </p> <p> <strong>WSMA Reports: What is physician coaching?</strong> </p> <p> Dr. Spanier: Physician coaching is a process that allows physicians to better understand their present circumstances and empowers them to be who they want to be and create the future they desire. Physicians partner with a coach in a safe space that allows deep reflection to increase self-awareness. Coaching assists physicians in clarifying goals and values, identifying obstacles that are holding them back, and developing strength-based strategies. How can coaching help physicians in their day-to-day practice? Similarly, how can it help outside of practice? Doctors participate in coaching for a variety of issues, including work-life balance, career fulfillment, burnout prevention, personal well-being, leadership, and effective interpersonal communication. Through coaching, physicians can better understand their beliefs, mindsets, and blind spots. Understanding these foundational elements supports physicians in seeing more clearly where they are stuck, what needs to change, and finding that first step forward, both personally and professionally. </p> <p> <strong>How did you get involved with coaching and how have you incorporated it into your practice as a physician?</strong> </p> <p> I have been passionate about addressing physician burnout and supporting well- being for the past decade. After my own pursuit to improve my well-being and find greater satisfaction in my career, I obtained certification as a mindfulness teacher, and I also completed training in self-compassion for health care communities. After learning about physician coaching in a 2019 study by Liselotte Dyrbye, MD, I decided to become a master certified physician coach. I find that coaching fosters a presence of openness and curiosity that has enabled me to be more present with my work, patients, and colleagues. </p> <p> <strong>Among physicians you see for coaching, what are some of the most common challenges they're facing?</strong> </p> <p> Stress, dissatisfaction, a lack of fulfillment, and the desire to grow personally and professionally. Many physicians are looking for a way to practice with integrity and authenticity, while seeking more work-life balance and passion for their work. They want to foster a sense of agency, the feeling of control over actions and their consequences, that allows them to make a difference and serve from a place of excellence. </p> <p> <strong>Have you seen an increase in physicians with pandemic-related burnout?</strong> </p> <p> According to a survey by Medscape, about two-thirds of physicians surveyed say their burnout has become more intense during the pandemic. This is consistent with the increased levels of stress, burnout, and exhaustion that I have seen in physicians I have coached. </p> <p> <strong>Are there a few simple coaching tricks physicians struggling with COVID-19 burnout can start to incorporate into their daily lives?</strong> </p> <p> One of my favorite concepts is "intention plus attention equals manifestation." Being intentional helps us recognize how we want to be, how we want to show up, and how we can purposefully align with our values and vision. It is the compass that influences us in the moment. </p> <p> Philosopher William James states, "At the end of your days, your life will have been what you paid attention to." When we keep bringing our attention back to our intention, we develop focus, clarity, and the creativity needed to transform intention into action. Our manifestation then becomes a life well lived, one step at a time. </p> <p> <em>This article was featured in the January/February 2022 issue of WSMA Reports, WSMA's print newsletter.</em> </p> </div>1/11/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
2022_legislative_session_update_week_12022 Legislative Session Update: Week 1Latest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/2022_legislative_session_update_week_1<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><a href=""><img src="/images/Newsletters/latest-news/2022/january/2022-legislative-update-wk-1-645x425px.png" alt="WSMA Legislative Update logo - Week of January 10, 2022" /></a> </div> <h5>January 10, 2022</h5> <h2>2022 Legislative Session Update: Week 1</h2> <p>As the 2022 legislative session begins, WSMA Director of Government Affairs Sean Graham gives an overview of what to expect during this mostly virtual 60-day session and likely areas of focus for the Legislature. <a href="">Watch the video</a>. </p> </div>1/10/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
health_care_as_a_team_sportHealth Care as a Team SportLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/health_care_as_a_team_sport<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Reports/2022/jan-feb-2022-reports-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="cover illustration for WSMA Reports January/February 2022" /></div> <h5>January 10, 2022</h5> <h2>Health Care as a Team Sport</h2> <h5> <em>Members only; sign-in required.</em> </h5> <p> By John Gallagher </p> <p> As the state Legislature convenes for its working session this January, scope of practice issues will be a topic for potential action yet again. The legislative debate is likely to center around two separate approaches. </p> <p> The first involves addressing the problem of the shortage of health care practitioners. "Washington state, like many other states, has a shortage with its health care workforce," says Sean Graham, WSMA's director of government affairs. "Those shortages have been exacerbated for a number of reasons by the pandemic." </p> <p> Solving that issue will require a long- term investment. In the meantime, however, there continues to be pressure to expand scope of practice for existing practitioners, something unrelated to the pandemic. Supporters of expanding scope often argue that changes are needed to ensure patient access to practitioners. </p> <p> "A lot of those proposals have been kicking around for years, if not decades," says Graham. "There's nothing novel about them other than the time in which they are manifesting. They are perennial proposals that have a COVID racing stripe on them." </p> <p> Scope of practice has long been a thorny issue. "It's a complex dynamic for which there are many inputs and changes occurring in society, at the legislative level, in training, and in the expectations of different groups," says Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD, president of the WSMA and a professor of surgery at the University of Washington. </p> <p> Exactly what the legislative proposals may be remains to be seen as the Legislature returns to session (for several proposals we do expect, see sidebar on p. 12). But one solution to the impetus behind such proposals has already been successfully adopted without legislative intervention. That solution is increased use of physician-led teams. The teams allow practitioners to perform at the top of their license under the leadership of a physician, which eases workforce shortages while also protecting patient safety and access. </p> <p> "Expanding the scope of practice is just one possible solution," says Dr. Sinanan. "Until we are assured that the quality and safety and level of collaboration is clear- and it often is not clear-then we're taking a risk by going that route. Developing the communication ties that are present within high-function clinical teams led by physicians is a better approach." </p> <h3>The value of physician-led teams</h3> <p> In some ways, physician-led teams are already built into the health care system. With their extensive training, physicians are naturally expected to lead, even though they may need to learn the skills to do so. On medical teams, roles are clear. </p> <p> "As an OB-GYN, I don't enter the OR with the thought of who is in charge of this or that," says Nariman Heshmati, MD, WSMA's vice president. "We all have a part to play based on our experience." </p> <p> The real issue, says Dr. Heshmati, is having each team member perform at the top of their license. </p> <p> "I push people to consider talking less about scope of practice and more about acknowledging that everyone on the team has a critical role to play," he says. "We have to reduce the variability of training at all levels in order to ensure the level of care." </p> <p> At the same time, the team is not about a strictly hierarchical approach to care. "A team means you are working closely with somebody," says Dr. Sinanan. "Someone who is available to bounce things off of, to test hypothesis and challenge assumptions. That makes the quality of care better." </p> <p> This collaborative attitude acknowledges that every member of the team has strengths-and gaps. "Even as physicians, we're continually looking up things," says Dr. Sinanan, who says a team's success depends upon "all members of the health care team having the same openness to what they know or don't know." </p> <p> Teams in certain specialties, such as palliative care, involve a wide range of health care practitioners and others, such as social workers and chaplains. Yet the team approach actually enhances the importance that each team member brings to the group. </p> <p> "There's an exultation of various roles for the people involved," says John Bramhall, MD, PhD. "That's not to diminish the value of non-physicians. If anything, the value of non-physicians is amplified by being coordinated." </p> <h3>Improving outcomes by working together</h3> <p> Physicians who have led teams readily testify to the benefit such a structure provides. By bringing together all members of a patient's care team, each member gets a fuller picture of the issues to be addressed, offering the potential for better care and outcomes. It also helps to ease the problem of too few health care practitioners, particularly outside of western Washington. </p> <p> "We're in a position here that it's necessary because there aren't enough physicians to go around," says Katina Rue, DO, a family medicine physician in Yakima. She notes that necessity may be a culture shock for older physicians, who weren't taught to work in teams. </p> <p> But her own experience has taught her the value of teams. "When teams work together, it brings about better patient care with better outcomes," says Dr. Rue. "Medicine can continue to improve by getting the disciplines together, with physicians in a place where they can lead the groups collaboratively." </p> <p> When she worked with a homeless population in her clinic, Dr. Rue led a team that included a nurse care coordinator, a pharmacist, and a behavioral health consultant, among others. "Everyone has a piece to play," she notes. "It's really much bigger than the physician piece. But the physician piece is important. The physician needs to have a pulse on what's going on with the rest of the team." </p> <p> The team approach also offers physicians a broader perspective than they can get just from time in the exam room. "It's part of our responsibility to our patients to really understand what their needs are, but also the needs of their families and community," Dr. Rue notes. "If we are not listening to the other members of the team- actively communicating with them and reviewing their notes, seeking their input-we're going to miss the boat on what patients and the community need." </p> <p> As the conversation about scope of practice heats up in the Legislature, the focus should remain on what's best for patient care. "We have strongly believed that physician-led teams, based on physicians' training, background, and experience, is the best approach," says Dr. Sinanan. "Until such time as the training, background, and experience of other groups is equal to that, we don't believe that they are able to handle the same standardized level of quality care." Meanwhile, the problem that prompts the Legislature's interest will require longer-term investment to create more opportunities for training to solve the shortage of workers. </p> <p> Having a physician-led team won't solve all those workforce issues, but it can make a difference. It can also build on the structures already in place to ensure better care and outcomes. </p> <p> "Health care is a team sport," says Dr. Heshmati. "We've got to do it together, but we've got to ensure that we're doing it the right way. How do we all bring the best of what we have to the table to improve outcomes?" </p> <p> When that succeeds, as it can on a physician-led team, the results can tran- scend the debate about scope of practice. </p> <p> "When everyone is focused, it's not about you or me," says Dr. Heshmati. "It's about the patient. They always come first." </p> <p> <em>John Gallagher is WSMA Reports senior editor.</em> </p> <p> <em>This article was featured in the January/February 2022 issue of WSMA Reports, WSMA's print newsletter.</em> </p> </div>1/10/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
wsma_calls_on_state_leaders_to_declare_crisis_take_actionWSMA Calls on State Leaders to Declare Crisis, Take ActionLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Press_Release/2022/wsma_calls_on_state_leaders_to_declare_crisis_take_action<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right"><img src="/images/Logos/Press-Release-Graphic-2019-Branding.png" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA press release logo" /></div> <h5>January 6, 2022</h5> <h2>WSMA Calls on State Leaders to Declare Crisis, Take Action</h2> <p> SEATTLE – The Washington State Medical Association, representing more than 12,000 physicians, resident physicians, medical students, and physician assistants, is urging Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health Umair Shah, MD, to officially declare Washington state in crisis and immediately take action to aid overwhelmed emergency departments and hospitals across the state. </p> <p> <a href="" target="_blank">Read the letter</a>, co-authored with the Washington Chapter of American College of Emergency Physicians and delivered to state officials this morning. </p> <p> The following WSMA and WA-ACEP spokespersons are available for interviews: </p> <p> WSMA Immediate Past President:<br /> Nathan Schlicher, MD, PhD<br /> Regional Director of Quality Assurance for Franciscan Health System <br /> Emergency Departments </p> <p> WA-CEP President:<br /> C. Ryan Keay, MD, FACEP<br /> Division Chief, Outpatient and Community Medicine<br /> North Sound Emergency Medicine<br /> Providence Regional Medical Center Everett </p> <p> Contact Graham Short at <a href=""></a> or 206.329.6851 (cell) to coordinate. </p> <h3>About the WSMA</h3> <p> The Washington State Medical Association represents more than 12,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians, and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. </p> </div>1/6/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_29_2021_wsma_advocacy_pays_offWeekly Rounds: December 29, 2021 - WSMA Advocacy Pays OffLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_december_29_2021_wsma_advocacy_pays_off<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/weekly-rounds-article-graphic-jeb-shepard-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds graphic with Jeb Shepard" /></div> <h5>December 29, 2021</h5> <h2>WSMA Advocacy Pays Off</h2> <p>Jeb Shepard, WSMA Director of Policy</p> <p> Chances are, you've had experience in your personal or professional life with a pharmacy or other third-party health care benefit manager. These entities administer various benefits from radiology to pharmaceuticals on behalf of insurance carriers, perform key functions like utilization management, and are among several industry players at the center of debate on rising health care costs and challenges with accessing care in our country. </p> <p> While their stated mission is to efficiently deliver benefits to patients at lower costs to the system, many observers-including WSMA's members, patients, and members of the Legislature, among others-have raised concerns they are doing just the opposite. To our way of thinking, benefit managers add additional layers of complexity to the delivery system, place barriers to patients receiving appropriate care, drive up costs, and are void of transparency and accountability due to a lack of state regulatory oversight. </p> <p> In response to such concerns, the Legislature passed a law in 2020 that grants the Office of the Insurance Commissioner regulatory authority over benefit managers doing business in our state. WSMA-supported <a href="">Senate Bill 5601</a> establishes registration requirements, including licensure fees and penalties for violations, and requires contracts between benefit managers and insurance carriers to be filed with the OIC. </p> <p> This measure is a first major step in the regulation of benefit managers, as it establishes a regulatory basis from which policymakers may address current and future concerns with the industry. </p> <p> So, problem solved, right? Unfortunately, no. As is often the case with new laws, there are unintended consequences that need to be addressed before the law can perform as designed. After the fanfare of a bill signing, the hard work of implementing a new law begins. </p> <p> In the case of SB 5601, the WSMA heard from medical group practices and health systems that utilize delegated credentialing arrangements with insurance carriers that they are being told they are subject to the new law and must register as a benefit manager. On hearing this news, the WSMA connected with our contacts at the OIC to report concerns regarding the insurance carriers' interpretation of the law. We expressed that as supporters of this measure, delegated credentialing arrangements were never intended to be included. </p> <p> In its <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">recently issued response</a>, the OIC states that its interpretation of the law is that medical groups and health systems are exempt from the registration and contract filing requirements when the delegated activity from the carrier to the practice is restricted to performing credentialing services. </p> <p> The WSMA's advocacy on this was effective in that most delegation arrangements will be exempt and practices will not be required to register and pay the associated fees. Our advocacy on your behalf matters! But this is another great example of our partnership with you: We were able to be effective on this because WSMA members took time to alert us to this concern. </p> <p> We're in this work together. We stand ready to respond to your questions about complex state and federal laws, regulations, and policies, and to advocate on your behalf when necessary. I hope you'll keep us informed about any health policy-related unintended consequences by writing <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> In the meantime, we wish you a happy new year! </p> </div>12/29/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
ama_files_suit_against_regulators_over_implementation_of_no_surprises_actAMA Files Suit Against Regulators Over Implementation of No Surprises ActLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/December_22/ama_files_suit_against_regulators_over_implementation_of_no_surprises_act<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/December/gavel-steth-book-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Gavel, stethoscope, and book" /></div> <h5>December 22, 2021</h5> <h2>AMA Files Suit Against Regulators Over Implementation of No Surprises Act</h2> <p>Earlier this month, the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association, along with two individual hospital and two individual physician plaintiffs, filed a lawsuit against federal regulators over implementation of a narrow but critical provision of a September interim final rule implementing the No Surprises Act.</p> <p>When Congress enacted patient protections from surprise medical bills under the No Surprises Act, a reform strongly supported by the AMA, it also established a process for health plans and health care providers to settle payment disputes through an independent dispute resolution process. The IDR process created by Congress requires arbiters to consider factors relevant to determining a fair payment, including the median in-network rate, the acuity of the patient and complexity of the case, the market dominance of both parties, contracting history, and the teaching status of the hospital. However, in the September interim final rule, federal regulators directed arbiters, during the IDR process, to presume that the median in-network rate is the appropriate out-of-network rate and significantly limited when and how the other factors come into play.</p> <p>The lawsuit argues that the regulations are a clear deviation from the statute and all but ensure that physicians and other providers will routinely be undercompensated by commercial insurers. More importantly, the rule will result in narrower networks and patients having fewer choices for access to in-network care. The lawsuit does not attempt to delay or undercut any of the patient protections from surprise medical bills in the No Surprises Act.</p> <p>While the publication of an interim final rule relieves federal regulators from the obligation of reviewing and responding to public comments, a public comment period was available through Dec. 6. The AMA submitted a detailed set of comments to the departments addressing the IDR process, including the imbalance created by anchoring the arbiter's decision to the median in-network rate, and urged the departments to revise those provisions in a final rule. The AMA's comments also expressed concern with the implementation of several administrative requirements, including provisions requiring a scheduling provider to collect from other providers and deliver to self-pay or uninsured patients a good faith estimates about the cost of care. The AMA submitted <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">comments</a> on the September interim final rule. Learn more about <a href="">other letters and summaries of the No Surprises Act rules</a>.</p> <p>The WSMA plans to sign onto an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit.</p> <p><em>This update courtesy of the American Medical Association.</em></p> </div>12/21/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
washington_state_pauses_new_long_term_care_programWashington State Pauses New Long-Term Care ProgramLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/December_22/washington_state_pauses_new_long_term_care_program<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/December/dominik-lange-vuoiqw4oeli-unsplash-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>December 22, 2021</h5> <h2>Washington State Pauses New Long-Term Care Program</h2> <p>Gov. Jay Inslee joined with legislative leaders this week to announce a delay in the Washington Cares Fund premium assessment, slated to begin in January, to allow the Legislature to make adjustments to the new program during the 2022 state legislative session.</p> <p>The governor issued the following statement:</p> <p>"I have been in ongoing discussions with legislators about the long-term care bill, which is set to begin collecting funds in January. This bill will help provide much-needed care and coverage for Washingtonians as they age. However, legislators have identified some areas that need adjustments and I agree. We need to give legislators the opportunity to make refinements to the bill. Therefore, I am taking measures within my authority and ordering the state Employment Security Department not to collect the premiums from this program from employers before they come due in April. My actions mean that the state will not collect those funds until the Legislature sorts through these issues. While legislation is under consideration to pause the withholding of LTC fees, employers will not be subject to penalties and interest for not withholding fees from employees' wages during this transition."</p> <p>Visit the <a href="">governor's webpage</a> for additional statements from legislative leaders.</p> </div>12/21/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_18_2021_governors_budget_release_portends_new_state_spendingWeekly Rounds: December 18, 2021 - Governor's Budget Release Portends New State SpendingLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_december_18_2021_governors_budget_release_portends_new_state_spending<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-Sean-Graham-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo with Sean Graham" /></div> <h5>December 18, 2021</h5> <h2>Governor's Budget Release Portends New State Spending, Start of Legislative Session</h2> <p> Sean Graham, WSMA Director of Government Affairs </p> <p> This week Gov. Jay Inslee released his 2022 state budget plan, proposing around $4 billion in new investments in housing, education, and climate, among other areas. In what is the legislative equivalent of a holiday tradition, the unveiling of the governor's budget proposal signals that session is just around the corner. The proposal makes adjustments to the $59 billion, two-year budget approved by legislators during the 2021 session that took effect on July 1 and serves to start the conversation on legislative budget discussions. </p> <p> In the health policy arena, highlights of the governor's budget include: </p> <ul> <li>More than $30 million in health care workforce investments to increase funding for the education and training of nurses and other health care professionals; health care simulation labs; the recruitment of students of color for health care professions; and the Opportunity Scholarship Program.</li> <li>$6.6 million to free up hospital capacity by supporting the transfer of patients out of acute care hospitals and into long-term care facilities.</li> <li>$300 million for COVID-19 response and $18 million for public health services.</li> <li>$18 million to stand up a program to help provide affordable health insurance coverage to undocumented residents of the state.</li> <li>$25 million to help address the opioid epidemic, including funding to bundle opioid treatment provider payments based on current Medicare Part B rates for opioid use disorder treatment services.</li> <li>$60 million to increase access to behavioral health services through the Medicaid program.</li> </ul> <p> The WSMA is pleased to see the proposed investments in the health care workforce but will be advocating for legislators to include provisions for broader investments in its budget proposals, including increased funding for physician residencies. We will also continue to advocate for Medicaid rate increases to be applied across the physician community to include specialty care providers in the interest of facilitating access to care for all residents of our state. </p> <p> More broadly, the governor's budget proposal would spend $800 million to address homelessness and housing, $900 million in education and schools, $250 million to reduce poverty, and $600 million to address climate change, including decarbonization of the building sector. </p> <p> Typically, "supplemental" budgets are used to make tweaks to state spending rather than significant new investments, but the state's fiscal outlook is strong and has been buttressed by federal stimulus funds, leading Gov. Inslee to propose substantial new spending. Legislative Republicans countered that the state's positive financial standing should be used to fund tax cuts. Expect that dynamic tension between spending and saving or tax cuts to continue in the coming months. </p> <p> In addition to consideration of fiscal issues, the 60-day 2022 legislative session that begins on Jan. 10 will see plenty of policy proposals. The 700 or so bills that were introduced in the 2021 session and failed to pass into law will be automatically reintroduced when session begins, and we expect to see at least 1,000 new bills to be proposed next year. </p> <p> As was the case with this year's session, the 2022 iteration will take place largely online, with legislative committee hearings being convened over Zoom. Many legislators do plan to be at the Capitol to debate and vote on bills, and some are indicating they will be holding meetings with constituents and lobbyists in person. As with most aspects of our lives, all subject to change based on the progression of the pandemic. </p> <p> What we do know is that in deference to public health guidelines and the state Capitol being closed to events next session, the 2022 WSMA Legislative Summit will take place over Zoom on Feb. 7 and 8. Plan to join us from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 7 for updates from your government affairs team on everything happening in Olympia, and to hear from key state policymakers. Then put that knowledge to use on Feb. 8 in virtual meetings with your legislative delegation, arranged by WSMA staff. <a href="[@]Shared_Content/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=LEGSUM22&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=j0m58">Register now to secure your spot at the event</a>. </p> </div>12/18/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
wsma_names_representative_marcus_riccelli_its_2021_legislator_of_the_yearWSMA Names Representative Marcus Riccelli Its 2021 Legislator of the YearLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Press_Release/2021/wsma_names_representative_marcus_riccelli_its_2021_legislator_of_the_year<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right"><img src="/images/Logos/Press-Release-Graphic-2019-Branding.png" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA press release logo" /></div> <h5>December 15, 2021</h5> <h2>WSMA Names Representative Marcus Riccelli Its 2021 Legislator of the Year</h2> <p> SEATTLE (Dec. 15, 2021) - Representative Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, has been named 2021 Legislator of the Year by the Washington State Medical Association for his continued partnership with the physician community and his efforts to expand access to care. </p> <p> First awarded WSMA's Legislator of the Year in 2016, Rep. Riccelli has spent the past five legislative sessions fortifying his commitment to increasing access to care for patients and supporting our state's physician community. Highlights include: </p> <p> <strong>Audio-only telemedicine</strong> (HB 1196 from 2021) - Rep. Riccelli witnessed the need and effectiveness of audio-only telemedicine in his Eastern Washington district, where access to health care can be limited by the ability to travel and broadband capabilities. He not only brought forward this WSMA priority bill, he was also a staunch advocate for our position during several rounds of negotiations with insurance carriers and other stakeholders. He is a long-time member of the Telehealth Collaborative and has sponsored several other important telemedicine bills in previous sessions. </p> <p> <strong>Prioritizing public health</strong> - Rep. Riccelli crafted legislation to help insulate local public health boards from political pressures and ensure increased representation from health care professionals. He worked extensively with a broad coalition to ensure a generational investment in foundational public health of $147 million in the 2021-23 budget and an additional $296 million in the 2023-35 budget. </p> <p> <strong>Modernizing the physician assistant profession</strong> (HB 2378 from 2020) - Following the extensive work and partnership between the WSMA and the Washington Academy of Physician Assistants, Rep. Riccelli sponsored this bill to make important changes to the state's physician assistant practice act by reducing administrative burdens and helping facilitate employment. </p> <p> <strong>Licensure fee setting (HB 1753 from 2019)</strong> - Rep. Riccelli partnered with the WSMA to establish policy requiring a preliminary notice period for any proposed fee increases from the Washington Medical Commission to provide additional and fair protections for physicians and other health care professionals. </p> <p> <strong>Interstate Medical Licensure Compact</strong> (HB 1337 from 2017) - Rep. Riccelli led a multi-year effort to authorize the Washington Medical Commission to participate in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, replacing a fragmented, administratively burdensome process to practice medicine across state borders. </p> <p> Over the years, Rep. Riccelli has had a sustained interest in supporting the existing physician workforce, consistently advocating for increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates, and also keeping the physician pipeline strong by working to help create the Washington State University medical school. </p> <p> "Rep. Riccelli's willingness to go to bat for the physician community during the 2021 legislative session served as a reminder that the WSMA could not ask for a better ally," said Elizabeth Peterson, MD, chair of WSMA's political action committee, WAMPAC, and a Spokane resident. </p> <p> "The physician community is grateful for Rep. Ricelli's ongoing commitment to helping us make Washington the best place to practice medicine and receive care," said Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD, WSMA president. "Congratulations to Rep. Riccelli on being named WSMA's 2021 Legislator of the Year!" </p> <p> For more information, contact: </p> <p> Graham Short<br /> Associate Director of Communications <br /> Office: 206.956.3633<br /> Cell: 206.329.6851<br /> Email: <a href=""></a> </p> <h3>About the WSMA </h3> <p> The Washington State Medical Association represents more than 12,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians, and medical students across all specialties and practice types in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine for more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. </p> </div>12/15/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
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